Mission: 5

by Paul Jennings

5/4?! Yeah, 5/4. Actually, we have had a number of requests to sink our toes into the less common time signatures, and this felt like a fun way to do it. We know that playing this may seem like a daunting mission, but believe us, it is by no means impossible.

Actually, we have designed the song to make 5/4 quite accessible and easy to learn. This original is exciting to listen to and play, but the students' part is simple. Well, except for that 5/4 thing. It is the simplest statement of it, letting each bar they play consist of a 3-beat note and a 2-beat note.

To prepare them for this, during the introduction, we have them counting out loud: 1 2 3 4 5, 1 2 3 4 5. Make sure that they emphasize the one and four.

They do play staccato quarter notes just before the first ending, but even those are on one and four. To help the students concentrate on the time, we also limit the notes they play to G, A, B, and C.

Note that there are two versions of the tune, one long, one short. The shorter one just takes the second ending, because in some performance situations, you may not want it to be so long. As a preparatory exercise, start slowly and say 1 2 3 4 5 in time, accented as in the tune. Once they have it down solidly, speed up gradually until you are at the tempo of the tune. And if your classes have studied conducting patterns as a part of their knowledge of time signatures, show them how to conduct in 5/4, again starting slowly and speeding up as things get going well. Once they are at the tempo of the tune, let them try conducting along with the track version of "Mission: 5." If it would help you see what else is going on in this piece, there is a piano/recorder score available for free download to subscribers. The box below gives details how to find it.

We hope that you enjoy the tune. Let us know how it works for you.

Online extras - The free, downloadable extras mentioned can be found under the Graphics and Extras for Volume 20, No. 4 at MusicK8.com

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.